Sclerotherapy was first developed in the 1930’s to treat unwanted varicose and spider veins in the legs. In particular, sclerotherapy is often used to treat the telangiectasias and reticular veins. Telangiectasias are flat red vessels that are smaller than 1mm in diameter. Reticular veins appear purple in color and are 2 to 4mm in diameter. Large varicose veins are not treated by sclerotherapy.
A tiny needle is used to administer a series of injections that contain small amounts of a sterile solution (usually a salt solution) into the vein. Because the needle is so small, patients do not need any anesthesia and usually feel little pain. In order to ensure precise injections, ultrasound technology is also often used.
The injected solution irritates the inner lining of the vein and causes the vein to swell and seal shut. Over time, the vein will gradually turn into scar tissue and disappear as it is reabsorbed into the surrounding local tissue. The other healthy veins in your leg will then take over the normal blood flow toward the heart.
Although the same vein may require multiple injections over time, this injection procedure for each session can be performed in our clinic in less than 30 minutes. The total number of veins treated during one session will depend on the size and location of the veins as well as the overall medical health of the patient. Any follow up sessions will be scheduled at least four weeks apart so that the results of the previous treatment can be accurately evaluated.
After treatment, you will wear compression stockings for several days while you are free to resume your normal daily activities. While walking is highly encouraged to prevent the formation of blood clots, the following should be avoided for a few days after the treatment: aerobic activity, hot baths, and excessive exposure to the sun.
Clinical studies have shown an overall success rate of 50 to 80% when sclerotherapy is used to treat varicose and spider veins. Sclerotherapy is fully approved by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration).
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